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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-06-2016, 10:59 AM
Magwart
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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She's beautiful and sounds like she's a really great dog.

She's still in her adjustment period. With most new dogs, it takes about 2 weeks for them to come out of their shells and show you who they really are. Give her time to go through figuring it out. Don't take her places, other than to walk, and try to not have many people come over for a few weeks. Just let her be with you at home, and get used to you.

These dogs have been through a lot -- old home to foster to new home. She'll figure it out and learn to trust you, but it has to be at her pace. Often dogs who "seem" abused are just going through trust issues and uncertainty in the new home, and shake it all off pretty quickly. She may just not be sure what's allowed and what isn't, so she's trying to figure it out in a respectful way.

A dog who was actually abused usually does some very characteristic things --- when you lift your arms up, or any object like a broom, they tend to hit the deck flat on the ground and cower, expecting a blow. If she's doing any of that, then committing to positive training with her will help. Clicker training is an ideal for a dog recovering from abuse, even if you aren't normally a fan of clicker training. Since it's likely "new" to the dog, it won't have bad associations. It allows you to build up their self-esteem, so they always know the right thing to do, and they learn to trust you to communicate without pain. Dogs who've suffered being "corrected" with pain by an abuser need to trust that you will never, ever do that to them. They come to see you as their protector from all that badness, and they blossom once their world becomes safe and predictable. Earning trust is Job One with a previously abused dog, and your training approach has to be directed at Job One.

Reward and praise when she does what's asked of her. This is one aspect of training I see so many people "forget." The dog did what they wanted, so they just move on instead of telling the dog it did the right thing. Praise is incredibly important to the dog! That will help you get her ears up so that when she does it instead of slinking away, she's happy and pleased with herself (because you are pleased with her and letter her know that).

Last edited by Magwart; 02-06-2016 at 11:02 AM.
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